Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Category: stress on marriage

Tough Love From A Tender Hearted Mother

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Matt.   You really did it this time.  It takes a lot to upset Ray and he is pissed.   The fact that you were going to let me go to jail and risk my nursing career just about blew his mind.  I keep telling Ray you are sick.  That you need help but your actions and attitude really aren’t helping my case.   I planned to spend this week relaxing in my garden, but now I have to put the fires caused by your addiction out and try to keep this family together.

I’m in the kitchen drinking coffee staring out the window.  I’m so lost in my thoughts that I don’t realize you are up.  I can’t even bring myself to look at your face.  I’m still having a hard time believing that after all we have been through together and everything I’ve done to help keep you safe that you would throw me to the wolves.  I’ve read about  tough love.  How parent’s throw their addicts out.  Turn their backs.  No home, no food, having nothing to do with their once loved kids.   I’ve read that the only way to save an addict is to let them hit rock bottom.   The problem with tough love is I’m not tough.  I loved you and all I cared about was getting you straight and keeping you that way.   I knew my back was against the wall.  I never though Ray would say those words.  I just didn’t know if I was strong enough to kick you out and your rock bottom scared me to death.

You brush past me without a word.  My heart is breaking.  Where are you? What happened to my funny, loving son?  Who is this stranger living in your skin?  My mind asking questions as my lips remain silent.  I’m trying not to cry.  I’m so emotionally beat up.  All I want is my son and my life to be normal.  I’ve forgotten what those days were like.  The days before the demons became your love.  When life was full of joy, before the chaos and drama starting chipping away at our lives.  I wanted it all back.  I wanted to grab you and shake you and rid your body of the poison slowly killing us all.

“Hey Matt, we need to talk”.   I wait for your response.  Nothing.  You are ignoring me.  Your demons have control.  I say it again, “Matt, we need to talk”.  You look at me with glassy eyes.  My heart sinks.  “Matt, this has to stop”.  “You need to get into a rehab or find another place to live”.   There, I’ve said it.  Those words I never thought I’d say.   Out of my mouth and floating between us like poison gas.  I hold my breath and wait for your reaction.  You look at me and smile.  “You can’t throw me out,  you have to evict me”.   “I looked it up”.   You continue to gloat as you make a cup of coffee and float downstairs.   I’m sitting there in shock.  I grab my laptop and google eviction.  I’ll be damn, you were right.  Holy shit.  How can this be.  I own this house.  You’ve never paid a dime to live here.  Just do your drugs and eat the food.  This is crazy.  Now I have to pay court costs to get you to leave.  My brain is reeling while my heart is relieved.  The perfect excuse.  No tough love.  I can’t be blamed by anyone.  For me it’s a win/win situation.  I did what Ray wanted.  Told you to leave.

Ray comes home expecting you to be gone.  I decide to play my I don’t know what you’re talking about game.  To slip into my pretend world.  I pretend we are just like any other family.  We had a misunderstanding and need to work it out.  Ray starts to question me.  I tell him we talked.  I share the information about kicking someone out that has lived at the residence for years.  I tell him this is your home.  You hear him come in and stupidly decide to come and challenge him.  Oh God, I’m looking at you willing you to shut your mouth.  My eyes pleading for your silence.  This is not the time to be cocky.   I feel the anger building.  You are high and mighty, untouchable.  Your words are ugly.  “F*** you, you can’t make me leave.  I live here”.   I hear the words and start to slowly die inside.  You are out of control and Ray is done.  I’ve never seen Ray so angry.  He pushes past you,  grabs a backpack filled with your stuff.  “Get the hell out”.  He is screaming, you are screaming and I am disappearing.   I watch in horror, tears flowing as Ray grabs you and throws you out the door.  Oh God,  I can’t do this.  You are my baby.  I have to save you.  I grab Ray and his eyes tell me to back off.   This is between you and him.  I’m sobbing and pleading for us to calm down and take a breath.  These ugly people are not who we are. Dear God, you look at me hate spewing from your eyes.  Ray slams the door and pushes past me.  I hold myself,  sobbing as you get into your truck, give me the finger and leave.

I continue looking out the window tears streaming down my face.  My mind is reeling.  How do you choose between two men you love.  One is your child.  You’ve loved him from the first moment the stick turned positive.  Dreamed of his life.  What he would look like and who he would be.  Never once did I think my beautiful boy would turn into a man capable of such turmoil.  Never did I dream that my son would grow up to be an addict.   Ray comes to me.  I cannot speak.  Just shake with the sobs racking my body.   He sits and tells me he’s sorry.  He’s trying to do the right thing.  He’s trying to save me.  “You can’t see what he is doing to you”.  “You are consumed by his addiction”.   “You aren’t tough enough, you still see the little boy,  not the grown man who is slowly killing you”.   “Let’s see what happens, Maybe this will open his eyes”.   I still can’t respond.  I need every ounce of energy to breathe.  I know Ray is trying.  I know he’s supported every decision.   Put up with Matt’s chaos and always tried to help.  Right now none of that matters.  My heart is broken.  I feel dirty and hateful.  I know I will not survive.

The first night I am once again on the couch.  Me and the pups.  A bottle of red and bones.  I try to call you.  I need to know you are alive.  Need to hear your voice.  To tell you I’m sorry and thinking of you.  And once again, your voicemail is all I get.  Hopelessness wraps me up.  In all the years of our struggle I never felt so defeated.

I am a mess.  I haven’t slept in weeks.  Laying there night after night wondering where you are.  If you’re still alive.  What have I done.  I hate myself.  I call Mike.  Ask him if he’s heard from you.  Nothing.  He’s trying to be strong, but I know he is thinking the same thing.  He will drive around and look for you.   I try to stay busy.  I check my phone constantly.  Every call sets my heart racing.   I go through your stuff.  Same old game. Searching for poison.  Hoping you have left some behind.  A reason to contact me.  Nothing.  Your demons have full control.  I sit and smell your clothes and cry.  “Mom,  Matt slept in his car last night”.   “At least he’s alive”.  “Ok Mike,  I’m going to make some calls.  Let’s put him in a motel until I can find a place”.    So Mike and I team up to find you a place to put your head.  I keep thinking about this tough love bullshit.  Well, I just can’t do.  Let them say what they want.  I don’t give a damn.  Everyone telling me to throw you out has never lived my life.   How do you handle not knowing where you’re son is.  Yes, he’s an addict.  He’s done terrible things.  He’s still my son.   All the tough hearted parents writing the advice books, well good for them I think.  Good for them.  They’re not Matt’s mom.  They haven’t watched his struggle.  They haven’t seen the glimpses of my Matt that sneak out and touch my heart.

Weeks go by.  You are now staying with a friend.  Of course I am paying rent to keep you safe.  I can finally sleep knowing you are not on the streets, cold and hungry.   People have told me I did it all wrong.  Just enabling from afar.  I say addiction is not a black and white disease.  What works for one addict doesn’t work for another.  Tough love is not all it’s cracked up to be.  It was tougher on me than you.  But you already knew that.  You played the game.  Acting hurt and hateful, killing me with your eyes as you left.   Knowing my heart was putty in your hands.   Knowing I loved you too much to be tough.  Knowing I would find a way to keep you safe.  My sweet boy knew he was loved too much by a mother who was too soft for tough love…..

Biting The Hand That Feeds You And So Much More….

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Matt.  I must say you did give us a short break after you got home.  Either that or you weren’t able to get your hands on any pills.  You did the all the things I asked.  Went to meetings, cleaned the house when I was working.  You passed all my spot checks.  No swaying walk or sloppy speech.  No stupid laugh or glassy eyes.  For a brief moment I let myself believe that maybe, just maybe you were on the right path.  Even Mike thought we might be heading in the right direction.    It was so nice to have a little touch of normal.   I still looked through your stuff when you weren’t around.  I still went through your text messages when you showered.  Old habits that become a way of life when your son is an addict.  The weather was breaking and I foolishly thought that the spring would be a new beginning for us.   That was until I came home early.

The NICU was slow that day and I was the first to get PTO.  I jumped at the chance.  Working only four hours when I was scheduled to work twelve.  What a gift.  It was Friday and the start of a week off.  I floated out the door and into the sunshine.  I was still under the illusion that you were on the road to recovery and that was definitely something to celebrate.  I stopped by the store to get your favorite Bubba Burgers and other junk you loved.  I envisioned all of us eating, talking, being normal.  I hadn’t felt such joy for so long, I  let it fill my battered mind.   Turning into our development, I see a car leaving.  A car and driver that I’d seen before but just couldn’t put my finger on where.  My senses now on alert.  My heart starting to speed up.  My breath coming from my tightening chest.  Palms sweaty.  WTH was going on.  My gut reaction, my fight or flight in full force.  I pull into the garage and forget about the groceries that minutes ago gave me such happiness picking out.   Something is not right…

I walk in quietly.  The dogs run to greet me.  No barking, tails down.  They lead me to you.  Slumped over on the couch.  Coffee spilled on the floor.  A bottle of opened pills scattered on your lap.  Shit…..Now I know.   Your buddy from the beach making a drop off.  I grab you and start slapping.  You open your glassy eyes.  Hey Mama.  I want to scream, to kill you with my bare hands.   Matt, Matt get up.  I grab the bottle and gather the fallen pills.  I pray the dogs have not eaten any of your poison.  I drag you by your shirt and throw you fully clothed into the cold shower.  Your cussing screams let me know that the cold water is hitting you like my fists want to.   I run upstairs clutching your pills.  Breathless and wet I hide them.  Your favorite demons, Percocet and Xanax have entered my fantasy world  once again blowing it to pieces.  I’m so angry I’m shaking.  Heart pounding.  I want to grab you and scream in your face.  I want to punch you until I can punch no more.  Instead I put on my “I don’t know what you’re talking about face” and head back downstairs.  You are out of the shower and pissed as hell.  WTF Mom.   What did you do that for.  Ok, my fox, you treat me like I’m dumb so I’m playing dumb.  Matt,  I just got so scared.  You were laying there just like the old days.  You know, the days I’d come home and find you stoned on the couch.  Coffee spilled on the floor.  You remember, right, I say through my smile.  I’m so sorry.  Guess I over reacted.   Mom, I just fell asleep, that’s all.

I remember the groceries and walk out to my car still trying to calm my pounding heart.  I return to find you bent over searching the floor.  “What ya looking for”, I ask.  Nothing, you answer.  “Hey, clean up that coffee stain while you’re down there”.  I go about my business trying not to think of the pills I’ve hidden.  I wonder how many you took and if you will start to withdraw.  I wonder how long this has been going on.  God, I wonder how I could have been so gullible.  I wonder lots of things but mostly I wonder if our lives will ever be normal.

Saturday morning is sunny and warm.  You are dark and nasty.  You are sneaking around looking.  Thinking I don’t know what you’re up to.  I continue to play dumb.  “Mom, did you find anything when you woke me up yesterday?”  “What would I find”, I ask.  Trying to contain my smile.  It’s almost sick, but I feel like I’m giving you a dose of your own medicine.  You lie to me, I lie to you.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Matt”.  I go through my day, cleaning, laundry and continuing to play our game.  You are getting restless.  Pacing, some sweating, a little itching all subtle signs I’m watching for.   Finally you get angry.  “Mom, you took my pills.  Stop your shit and give them back.  They are my pills. You have no right”.  “Matt, I love you.  I’ll be out in the garden”.

I open the shed and grab everything I need to play in the dirt.  Garden therapy I call it.  Pulling and planting.  I lose myself in the dirt and allow myself to relax.  I Pod playing thru my new ear buds taking me away from the chaos playing out in the house.   Ray breaks my peace.  “Hey, did you take Matt’s pills?”   “What if I did? ” I’m not saying one way or another.  “”Well, he’s in there raising hell.  He’s tearing his place up, cussing and threatening”.  Ok,  I’ll handle it.  I brush off the dirt and walk right into you as you are flying out onto the deck.   “Mom, I know you have them. Give them to me”.  “Matt, I love you and yes I have them”.  “No, I’m not giving them back”.  “You need help and I’m helping you”.  “I’m off all week.  If you go through withdraw I will help you.  But no pills”.  You turn ugly like a cobra ready to strike.  You punch the air and start cussing me out.  “I love you Matt”.  I put my ear buds back in place and walk back to the dirt.   Ray follows.  “You can’t do this.  He will go crazy”.  “Ray, I’ve done this before.  He won’t hurt me.  You need to leave.  This is between me and Matt”.  You look at me like I’ve got two heads.  “Are you out of your mind?  I’m not leaving you alone with him”.   “No really, I want you too.  I don’t want you to see the ugliness that will spew from him.  It’s not who he is”.  I start to cry as you bust through the door and start cussing to my face.  “Matt, I’m doing this because I love you”.  I walk inside to get away.  My phone rings,  “Mom, what is going on over there?”  “Matt called.  He’s accusing you of taking his pills”.  “Mike, I took his pills and I’m not giving them back”.  “Mom, is that Matt screaming at you?”  “Yes Mike,  It’s ok.  I’ve been through this before it’s nothing new.  I told Ray to leave, this is between me and Matt”.  I hang up and go back outside.  Every time you attack I tell you that I love you.  My tears are now mixing with the dirt.  My quiet place invaded by your demons.

Mike arrives.  I’m out in the garden.  “Mom, Matt called the police.  They are coming”.  ” What are you talking about?  He’s downstairs.  He settled down” .

Mom, he called the police.  Now I’m the one who’s pissed.  “Are you shitting me?  That b…..  Good, let them come.  Maybe we can get him real help”.   I walk into the house as the first police car pulls up.  Followed by two more.

Really.  Are you Fuc*** kidding me.  You appear with a cocky smile all over your face.  I want to smack the hell out of you.  I open the door and see my neighbors running and walking dogs all craning their necks to see.  I want to shout.  Mind your business.  This is not who I am.  I have done nothing wrong except try to save my son.  Jesus, I want to dig a hole and climb in never to return to this living hell my life has become.  So much for the neighborhood.  Yup, the property values just plummeted.  Sell now before this becomes a daily occurrence.

So here we are.  Mike, Ray and me standing in my driveway talking to two police officers while you are on the porch talking to another.  You have called in a domestic dispute.  These poor cops had no idea what they were walking into hence the backup.  “Hello officer,  I’m Marybeth, Matt’s mom.  He called you to come.  Exactly what was his complaint.  Pills, yes officer I took them.  I’m a nurse trying to save my addict’s life.  No, no one else knows where they are”.  I look at you, now pacing like a caged animal.  Domestic dispute  I’m thinking.  My mind is saying, “officers please close your eyes”.  I just need ten minutes with this conniving  little shit.  Then we can call it a domestic dispute.  Call it assault by a mother who is going out of her mind.  A mother who has spent years living with the chaos of her son’s addiction.  A mother that had suffered mentally and physically.  A mother who would give her life to save her son.

The officers begin to get the picture.  You are getting mouthy.  Your officer is trying to calm you down.  My brain is praying that you become aggressive and I can watch you be carted off to rehab.  Your officer is calling the Psyche Crisis Line.  My heart is souring.  Yes, yes, finally we will get help.  Thank you God.  Ha Ha, my little monster, you did this to yourself.  I’m so happy in my fantasy I don’t hear what is being said.   “What, are you crazy.. Sorry officer but I’m not giving his pills back”.  “Do you not see the shape he is in.  I have fought this battle for years.  I need your help.  You see what he is.  No way, sorry.  It ain’t happening.  We are detoxing today and hopefully you can take him to rehab”.  Now both Mike and Ray are telling me it’s not worth it.  “Mom, just give him his damn pills.  He called the cops on you”.  WTF.  Your yelling grabs everyone’s attention.  You are on the phone with the psyche crisis evaluator.  I hear your lies, “yes, I’m fine, just need my pain meds”.   “No, I’m not abusing them, no I’m not suicidal, I just need my pills”.  I bolt up to the porch.  “Give me that phone” I yell as I grab it out of your hand.  Hello, I try to remain calm but I’m quickly losing it.  “Yes, I’m his mother, he’s an addict and I took his pills to save his life”.  “He will kill himself if he doesn’t stop”.  “Please help me, he needs rehab, please”.  I am begging for our lives.  The officers are looking at me with such pity.  I have no pride as I continue to beg for help.  “What, seriously, you think he’s stable”.  Now I’m screaming.  “You asshole, do you have to hear the gun cock before you realize that someone is unstable?”  “Do you not hear the desperation in his voice, the speech, WTH, you are no professional, go to hell”.  Great, now I look like the crazy mom I’ve become, but tried to keep hidden from the world.

Excuse me,  The young officer approaches carefully.  Oh boy, probably thinking he’s got a loony lady to deal with.  I’m really sorry.  I understand what you are doing, but if you don’t give him back his pills I will have to arrest you.  Now both Ray and Mike are at my side.  “There is no way you are arresting my mom, what is wrong with you”.  Ray is getting pissed.  “Where are the pills, I’ll give them back, this is crazy”.  Nope.  I look up at you and see the hate pouring out of you toward me.  “Matt, I love you but I’m not giving you the pills”.  “Ok officer, I’ll go to jail.  It’s going to be a relief to be away from here.  It’s about to get real ugly and I’d rather miss the whole BS”.   “Actually officer,  jail would be like heaven right now.  Calm and quiet.  Can I grab a book?”  Ray and Mike are screaming at me but I’ve made up my mind.  “Just don’t cuff me, ok”.  The officer looks at me with such sadness.  The other officer is doing his best to calm Ray and Mike.  You remain on the porch killing me with your eyes.  I look away.  I can’t look at the man you have become.  My heart is breaking.  I walk toward the police car and feel a hand on my shoulder.  The young officer stops me.  “Please think this through, you are a nurse.  You will be charged with stealing narcotics, that’s a felony “.  “You will go before a judge today.  I can’t guarantee the outcome”.  “You will lose your nursing license and spend time in jail.  “Please, I see what you are doing, but Mike and Ray are right, you are too kind to suffer like this”.   Now Mike is on the porch.  Both my boys going head to head.  One defending his mother the other defending his demons.  My boys once so close are now close to killing each other.  Ray grabs my arm.  “I will not let you do this, get the f***ing pills or I will tear this house apart until I find them”.

I am shaking.  I’m sick inside.  I’m defeated by your demons.  I go inside as the officers stay with you and Mike.  Ray follows me inside.  “His addiction is going to kill you”, he says as I hand him the pills.  He leaves and I watch from the window as he walks up to you and hands you the bottle of poison.  The sobs catch in my throat.  I hold myself as I fall apart.  Barely able to breathe.  Two officers pull away.  The young one stays behind.  I hear him talking to you.  He is telling you how lucky you are to have a mom who loves you enough to risk everything to save you.  He tells you to get help.  He tells you how blessed you are to live in this beautiful home with a family that cares so much.  I hear his words and let the sobs rack my body.  Yes, my beautiful son.  I would go to jail to save you.  I would walk through hell and take on the devil if it meant getting you away from the demons that are killing our family.  I watch the last officer walk to his car.  He looks up at the window and tips his hat to me.

Ray and Mike find me upstairs. ” Mom, I can’t believe he called the police on you.  He is such a prick”.  I hear the words I’ve been dreading.  “He can’t stay here.  I’ve had enough.  This was the last straw.  After everything you’ve done for him.  All the years of  taking care of his problems and this is what he does”.  Oh God Matt.  I know you are very sick.  You have really done it this time.  I hear you come in.  You immediately go downstairs to your hideaway.  I can only imagine what you are doing.  I’m so beat down.  I just sit and cry.  Mike hugs me before he leaves.  I tell him you are sick.  I tell him not to judge or hate you.  This family has to stick together.  He looks back with tears in his eyes.  “Yeah Mom”.  Ray sits next to me.  I have no words.  I am numb.  I hear the words again.   “Figure out what you need to do, but he can’t stay here, not after this”.

Matt, I sit alone in my room.  I thought this was finally a way to get you help.  I was happy you called the police.  Overjoyed.  I was ready for them to take you away to a safe place.  Psyche Crisis.  What a joke.  Everything working against a mom trying to save her son.  I can’t even pray anymore.  Nobody listens.  I curl up on my bed.  The pups find me.  They jump up and curl their bodies next to mine.  I feel their breathing.  It calms me.  I think of the nightmare this day had become.  The peace of the garden long forgotten.  I close my eyes and will myself to disappear.  I want to be Alice or Dorothy.  Clicking my red slippers or falling down my rabbit hole.  Dear God, anyone but the mother of an addict………

 

 

 

Drugs, Jobs and Roller Coaster Rides

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Matt,  Holy shit, holy shit, I am doing the happy dance.  Hugging you and jumping for joy.  I get a grip and look at your face.  Matt, what’s wrong, this is the best news ever.  You will be doing the work you love, making real money and having a sense of pride.  I’m still not getting it.  You look like you just received the worst news instead of this great news.  You grab my shoulders holding me still.  Your eyes bore into mine.  Mom, I have to take a drug test…Ok, so take it.  Oh God Matt, I still lived in my little world of denial.  I figured that since I was handling your pills and being very stingy with  how many you got that our problem was under control.  I foolishly thought I’d fixed you again.  I had no clue as to the many sources you had and believed that because you weren’t bugging me for them that you realized you really didn’t need them.  Stupid, stupid me.

Days go by and your still evasive when I ask you about the job.  Mom, I’m waiting.  Waiting for what.  It was then that it struck me.  You were lying again.  I’d overheard you on the phone asking about passing a piss test.  Yes Matt, I did pretend to not notice you on the phone but my ears were on high alert as I tried to learn as much about who you were hanging with while pretending to be looking for my phone or whatever would pop into my mind when I saw you sneaking around talking in whispers.  Passing a piss test.  Ugh, so gross your slang.  Couldn’t you just say drug or pee test, nope had to use words that conjured up images in my mind that I’d rather not think about.  I guess my education regarding the slang used by addicts was in full swing.  Thank you Google.  I was educating myself and was amazed at the stuff posted on the internet.  I guess if you could learn how to build a bomb you could certainly find out how to pass a piss test.

So you could pick up a detox kit from GNC.  Well, I’ll be damn.  I foolishly thought they were a health food store.  The jokes on me.  Addicts are beyond smart.  I saw this sitting on your dresser when I was snooping or working out in your space.  However you want to look at it you left it out and I found it.  I, your naive mom just couldn’t believe what you were going to do.  Take a chance on this stupid kit instead of not using.  So it’s the big day.  You leave the house with this big grin, like you were the cat that swallowed the canary.  I decided to play along.  Good luck.  you got this, giving you a hug and letting you go.  Oh God,  wouldn’t it be easier to just stop then to play all these games.

I watch your car leave the neighborhood before I begin my daily search.  Hoping to find your source of these demon pills.  You were fox sly and tore the labels so I had no idea where your pill pushers were located.   You are back way too quick and way too happy.   Hey, how did it go.  No worries Mom.  I’ll start as soon as my results are back.  A week passes, nothing.  No call, nothing.  I’m in a panic and you don’t care.  Matt, call. You should be starting by now.  Have you heard anything.  I come home from work everyday and find you way too comfortable sitting in front of the TV.  Matt,  WTH.  What is going on.  Mom, get off my back.  I grab your phone and look up the number.  I call.  You failed and you knew.  I am ready to explode.  Matt, why. I can’t even talk as I feel my body fall apart.  The aftershock of your addiction once again kicking me in my gut.  My high hopes for you shot out of the sky and all you can say is get off your back.  I’ve always compared being your mom to riding a very fast, very high roller coaster.  The ride left me breathless, heart pounding and feeling very unsettled.  Never knowing from one day to the next where we were heading and how we would land.  Once again, my hopes for a normal life shattered while you look at me with disgust.

Matt,  this was the start of our ride.  You finally got a job as a service writer.  A job using your brain and not your back.  Only by the grace of God passing the infamous piss test.   You smelled a lot like vinegar for days but by now I didn’t care if you had to eat dog crap.  Anything that worked to get you a job.  I remember making your lunch, yeah I know, just like when you were in school.  That’s how it felt.  My boy getting back into the world.  Having a purpose instead of planting yourself on the couch for the day.  I was as happy as I could be.  Pretending that we were finally on the road to normal.  I allowed myself to ignore the slowness in your speech.  You glazed eyes.  Your excuse that you were just getting used to working again.  Matt, are you stoned.  Really Mom.  You would look at me with such hate.  I chose to stay in my little world slapping away those doubts that surfaced.  Stop, I would tell my brain.  He’s just tired.  He’s been sleeping in and hanging out and now he has a time clock.  Eight hour days.  Cut him a break my heart would cry.  My brain would send out warnings.  Matt, Mom.  Stop.  I’m tired.  My back hurts.  I can’t sleep. I’m being watched.  Matt. Please stop.  Mom, get off my back.  Matt, we are going out for my birthday.  I’ve left dinner in the oven.  We won’t be long.  Mom, I got fired.

Bye Bye Beach House My Son’s Coming Home

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Matt, I remember going to the U Haul dealer and ordering the truck.  I just couldn’t believe this was truly happening.  The guy kept asking what I was moving and every time I tried to tell him I would start to cry.   He probably thought I was getting divorced, not losing my beach house and bringing my addict son home.   I couldn’t even believe it myself.  I made plans to come back on Saturday to start the saddest ride of my life.   My next stop was to rent a storage unit.  Once again I couldn’t let myself even think about why this was happening.   The lady behind the counter was full of smiles when I walked it.  She started a conversation by asking what I was storing.  I’d become such a great liar always covering up your addiction I just whipped out my answer without blinking an eye.  Oh, my son lost his job.  It’s tough finding employment at the beach so he’s moving home until he finds something here.  He’s a great mechanic, I’m sure he’ll find a job soon and we’ll be back moving stuff out.  Great, end of story.  I signed the lease and took the contract, once again disbelieving this was truly happening.

Back home I was free to let my emotions loose.  I cleaned out closets and moved furniture to make room for you.  I talked to myself through my tears.  It will be ok, my brain kept repeating over and over again.  He will be here and you can watch him.  You will have more control over how he lives.  You will set boundaries and make rules.  These is the best solution for now.  Somehow I kept trying to convince myself that this arrangement wouldn’t kill me or get me arrested for killing you.

Talk about killing.  Just how great was this arrangement going to be on a new marriage.  Ray and I were just finding our rhythm and now here comes my unemployed, addicted, adult son.  Oh boy,  where’s the reality TV when you need it.  Well this would be the true test of that vow for better or worse, cause I could just feel in my gut that we were signing up for a whole lot of worse.

Driving down I kept asking Ray if he was really ok with this.  Hey, it’s too late now.  You put this in motion we can’t stop now.   Two friends volunteered to help.  Of course, I once again told the poor Matt story.  Can’t find a job at the beach, yada, yada and shot Ray a warning look to keep his mouth shut.  He was now in training on how to hide the truth about your addict.  This was a secret club.  A need to know basis only.  After all, Ray was now part of the dirty little secret club so he better know how to play.

We all arrived at the same time.  I was panicked.  I wanted to get there first and scope out the place and you.   No such luck.   I knocked and waited.  Dog barking but nothing else.  Oh God, please just today can you spare me this crap.  I use my key and am greeted by balls of black fur that caught a ride on the breeze from the door.  I will kill you.  I can feel the crazy mom starting to surface.  There you are on the couch looking like you’ve got no cares in the world.  I want to scream.  At least you have the decency to get up and realize I am not alone.  You flash that smile but I’m unaffected, I am going to kill you.   Ray can see what is going on and diverts our friends into another room to discuss where to start.  Matt,  thanks so much for doing what I asked.  I scan the room and see boxes half full, the kitchen full of dirty dishes.  I grab your arm and drag you into the kitchen.  I fill the sink and tell you to start washing.  My head is ready to explode.   Go ahead, say one word and I don’t care who sees it, I am so done with your BS.  You look at me and know we are on that slippery slope.  I can see you behind the mask of your demons.  I want to reach in and grab you but know the demons have control.

We are down to three.  All of us struggle to move the pieces into the truck.  You are oblivious to everything except the menial tasks I have demanded you do.   As each room is emptied another piece of me is broken.  I try to hide my tears, taking breaks outside to smell the sea air.  My mind is flooded with memories of happy times before  your demons came.  I question every decision, everything I did to save my piece of heaven.  Everything sold, all lost to your addiction.  Now the final straw.  Your disease has robbed you of love, your business, your health, now it’s robbed me of my dream.

I am openly sobbing as we close up the truck.  The dam broken and years of pent up anguish flood my being. You sit in the truck staring ahead.  I can’t look at or talk to you.  You have robbed me of the son I used to know.  The Matt you used to be.  My wing man, my partner in crime.  I walk inside and hold myself as I say goodbye to my paradise.  I close my eyes and can see the memories that are burned into my brain.  Parties, crabs and beer.  Coming home with a fresh catch.  You gutting the fish and throwing pieces at me as I ran screaming.  Both of us laughing.   I want you back.  Ray comes to me as I close the door for the last time.   It will be ok,  we will get through this.

We pull away and I turn to take one last look.  You are staring at me. You are back.  A tear is running down your face.  You reach for me and I grab your hand.   We lock eyes.  It will be ok,  you are coming home.  You will be safe.  I will help you get you back.  We will be wingmen, partners in crime, fighting the demons together.  That’s what families do.  Stick together.  We are both quiet on the ride home, no need to talk.  We’ve had years of reading each others eyes.   You fall asleep and memories of you being young flood my mind.  Sleeping in the backseat with your head on the window.  Nothing has changed.  You are now a man, but always my boy.

I look at Ray.  He grabs my hand.  You ok.  Yeah, I will be.  Just gotta get him help.  We ride home in silence.  Ok God,  I need a real wingman.  Someone with super human powers.  You up for this.   I’m hanging with my son.  I will not give up.  I remember looking at the sky.  The sun broke out from behind a dark cloud.  Ok God, I’m taking that as a yes.  I felt a peace fill my heart.  I looked back at my sleeping adult child.  Yes everything would be ok…….

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